NJ Senior Care Blog

Healthy Aging Month: Staying Healthy and Happy As You Age

 

A recent study has shown that older people are happier than younger people, despite facing more health-related challenges. In observance of Healthy Aging Month in September, we’re examining some of the basics of happy, healthy aging. 

Get Moving

Exercise offers a wide array of physical and mental health benefits, including improved heart and vascular health and a lower risk of depression. Unfortunately, many seniors don’t exercise at all. In fact, some studies report that nearly 30% of people over 50 are sedentary, meaning they get little-to-no physical activity in their daily lives. 


Lack of physical activity increases the risk of a number of health conditions that threaten seniors’ quality of life.


  • Not exercising enough can cause accelerated muscle weakness, which leads to less balance and stability during movement. Seniors who have trouble with balance experience more falls and are injured more seriously during those falls. 
  • Exercise is also important for seniors’ cognitive function. In fact, studies have shown that seniors who are physically active experience less hippocampal volume loss as they age. A larger hippocampus is associated with improved spatial, explicit and episodic memory.
One of the easiest ways to add exercise to your daily routine is to start small. Begin by walking half a mile per day, and gradually work your way up to a full mile. Medical professionals generally recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day for optimal health benefits. Another option for adding exercise to your day is to join a senior fitness club or group. SilverSneakers, for example, offers senior-centric exercise programs. Visit silversneakers.com to find a program in your area.

Nurture Your Relationships

Social isolation and loneliness are two of the biggest threats to health and happiness in old age. Unfortunately, many seniors find it difficult to maintain social relationships. Many aging people have health problems and can no longer drive, causing them to miss out on social events and activities they once loved. Additionally, many seniors have experienced the loss of spouses, friends, children and neighbors, leading to increased social isolation. 


One of the easiest ways to increase your social interaction throughout the week is to hop on social media and connect with your family and friends. Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are three social networks that give seniors a variety of ways to interact. Video chatting options like Facetime and Skype can also help you connect, especially with family members or friends who don’t live nearby.


Senior resource centers also offer great social activities and outings for seniors. Many senior centers provide classes, social events, and seasonal events that give aging adults a chance to connect and build a social network. To find a senior center in Mercer County or Burlington County, visit our Mercer County resource page or Burlington County resource page.


Many seniors with limited mobility find themselves homebound and unable to get out into the community. In these situations, companion care can be a life saver. Visiting Angels of Mercer and Burlington Counties in New Jersey offers experienced caregiver employees to provide practical support and much-needed companionship to seniors who live alone. 

Train Your Brain

Brain stimulation is just as important as physical exercise in helping seniors staying active, happy and healthy. Several brain training apps geared specifically towards seniors. These apps are both entertaining and mentally stimulating. Below are a few examples.

 

  • Cognifit - www.cognifit.com
  • Lumosity - www.lumosity.com
  • BrainHQ - www.brainhq.com

Brain training and mental stimulation has been linked to better memory and less cognitive impairment in later life. Mental stimulation has also been linked to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 


Contact Visiting Angels today with any questions questions about senior care in Mercer or Burlington County, NJ. 

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.